This is where we’re bending the rules of this list. The RZ500 was never officially imported to the U.S., but a lot of examples made their way here via Canada. When the RZ500 debuted in 1984, it was the closest thing to a 500cc Grand Prix bike with lights and blinkers as a motorcyclist could get. The 500cc liquid-cooled V-4 two-stroke powering the RZ shared little with its thoroughbred counterpart aside from its twin-crank V-4 layout, but its two-stroke powerband was more exciting than anything else on the road at the time, and it weighed much less than competing four-strokers.

It stood alone as the only 500cc GP replica until 1985 when the terrific RG500 Gamma was brought into Suzuki’s lineup and Honda debuted its oddball V-3 NSR400. The RZ and RG produced about the same power, but the Suzuki’s aluminum frame gave it far better handling than the steel-framed RZ. The Japanese market also offered the RD500R, which used an aluminum frame. The RZ’s engine was used as the heart of the YZR500 Wayne Rainey Replica we recently posted. Unlike the current RC213V-S four-stroke MotoGP replica from Honda at $164k, the RZ500 was priced at a much more affordable $3,900 in 1984, about $9k in 2016 greenbacks – which is about as cheap as you can find one for on eBay these days; clean examples can cost considerably more. MO’s EiC, Kevin Duke, used to own an RZ500 25 years ago (that’s him in the lead photo), and he raves about the two-stroke’s radical powerband and zinging V-4 exhaust note. After having ridden more than 700 other motorcycles since then, he says the GP replica remains one of his all-time favorites.